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Request a Default Judgment by Clerk

Ask the Clerk to Find in Your Favor because the Other Side Didn't Show Up

A defendant has 30 days from the date he or she is personally served with your summons and complaint to file a written response (California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) § 412.20(a) (3)). The end of the 30 days is not an automatic cut-off; the court will still accept a response from the defendant after 30 days, unless the plaintiff files a request for default. Once a default is entered, the defendant is no longer able to file a response or otherwise participate in the case. The plaintiff may also ask to have a judgment entered in his or her favor. This is known as requesting a default judgment.

In breach of contract cases where the specific monetary amount desired is requested in the complaint, a default judgment may be entered by the clerk, rather than by the judge. If the monetary amount desired is not specified, or if a judge needs to rule on any other issue raised in the complaint, you must request a default judgment by the court, which requires additional forms and is not covered in this Guide. For more information, see the Step-by-Step guide on how to Request a Default Judgment by the Court on our website at


The Judicial Council and Sacramento County local forms commonly used in this procedure are:

Click below to download this guide, with step-by-step instructions and sample forms:

 Request a Default judgment by Clerk

revised mpj 8/2014